Intermedia: An Introduction

George P. Landow, Professor of English and Art History, Brown University; Shaw Professor of English and Digital Culture (Computer Science), National Universty of Singapore

Intermedia, which employs object-oriented programming, uses a client-server model with a Unix-based system of permissions and user groups that allows linking to otherwise read-only documents. Multiple users can therefore read the same document while someone is editing it; users can simultaneously edit different parts (documents) of web.

Intermedia's various editors include InterWord, InterDraw, InterLex, and InterVideo.

InterDraw document take the form either of scanned images or ones created using Intermedia's structured graphics editor. Intermedia also included InterVal, a time line editor, and Interword, a styled-based text editor. One of Intermedia's crucial features is the Web View, an advanced navigation tool that essentially removes most possibilities of disorientation, or getting lost in hyperspace.

Its other sophisticated resources include Interlex, an interface to the American Heritage Dictionary created by James H. Coombs, who designed the Interlex Palette and weighted full-text searching.

Other features include animation and video, both of which readers can control with a palette designed for that purpose. The last stages of Intermedia development involved an emphasis upon collaborative work, specifically upon collaborative writing and decision making in InterNote.


1. The most important articles on Intermedia 2. For a complete list of publications and technical reports concerning Intermedia consult the IRIS bibliography.

Related Materials

An Archival Video

Paul Kahn, the last Director of IRIS, created an hour-long archival video, Intermedia: A Retrospective, which is available from the Association of Computing Machinery. Direct inquiries to
ACM Orders Dept.
Item # 223920 (VHS)
Item # 223921 (PAL)
410 528-4261 (outside U.S.)
The person to contact there is Bernard Rous, whose address and telephone are
Association of Computing Machinery
1515 Broadway
New York NY 10036
212-869-7440, extension 660

Cyberspace Web Hypertext

Last modified 6 May 2005